Wil Sillen's post

By: Henk Hulshof
Man has created a force well on its way to devouring both humanity and the earth: large corporations whose top management hides behind limited liability. These companies generally have no intrinsic interest in human well-being. They are legal constructs: abstract entities designed with the ultimate goal of maximizing profits for investors. British writer Jeremy Lent believes that if companies were real people, they would be called sociopaths, who completely lack the capacity for empathy, a crucial part of normal human behavior. Big business uses its enormous power to control consumers and bring them into a state of endless consumption. The result of this corporate takeover of humanity is a world that is spiralling out of control. Nature is mercilessly plundered to extract the raw materials needed to increase shareholder value. Compulsive economic growth is leading, regardless of the quality of human life and without concern for the well-being of future generations. Corporate takeover of humanity is so all-encompassing that it's hard to imagine any other possible global system. However, alternatives exist. Around the world, working-class cooperatives have shown that they can be as effective as corporations — or even more — without chasing shareholder wealth as their primary consideration. The cooperative MONDRAGON Corporation in Spain, with a turnover of more than 12 billion euros, shows how this organizational form can scale up efficiently. In the Netherlands, cooperative Herenboeren Nederland are taking back control of food production and thus represent a promising alternative to the current system that is not only unsustainable, but from which agribusiness in particular benefits. To prioritize human well-being, corporate charters can also be adapted to optimize for social, environmental and financial outcomes (the so-called "triple Ps" of people, planet and profit). If we ultimately want to prevent extractive corporations from completely taking over humanity, these alternative approaches must be codified in our national and international governance. Imagine a world where corporate charters are only granted if they respected the three Ps, and where shareholder lawsuits threatened every time a company violated any of its own social and environmental standards. The early parliamentary elections in November offer an excellent opportunity for innovative-thinking parties to prominently include the stimulation of business forms aimed at the well-being of people, animals and nature in election programmes. #tweedekamerverkiezingen #duurzaamheid #bedrijfsleven 📚 Jeremy Lent, The Web of Meaning (2021)

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